I have not slept in 24 hours, and as a result of my insomnia, went for a yoga session at 5 in the morning, before meeting my lunch buddy for our weekly lunch outing. Despite how satisfied I felt with myself, there was no denying that I was running on empty and in addition to all this the weather was absolutely bat-shit today, from a sunny morning to a sudden, angry change of downpours and strong winds.
Still we persevered, and found ourselves at Bookcaffè.
I came to know about Bookcaffè as I have a friend who works there, (she was not on shift today) and the concept of books in a cafe setting, thought not new, will always occupy a special spot in my heart. I read extensively, and am constantly on the hunt for any cafe that allows me to purchase, read or write while having some food and coffee without hustling me out the moment my food is finished.
If anyone knows of a cafe that does the above with the addition of the company of animals - I will forever be indebted to you. In fact the person who opens such a store can have my first child, that's how much I covet this.
I digress. Bookcaffè is immediately recognisable, with its red painted walls and many signs, boasting of its impressive five years in a row record of being the West Australian Independent Bookseller of the Year. True to its name, books and cafe food are the main focuses on this establishment. As I entered the cafe, I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount this store is trying to achieve.
As you can see, their menu is extensively scribbled over their boards. They offer everything from their kitchen, anything starting from pancakes, full breakfasts, stir fried noodles, seafood platters, sandwiches, wraps, fresh soups, salads to the dessert items of gluten-free cakes, cupcakes, muffins, raw vegan balls, even ice cream.
Now, I normally don't mind reading a menu off the wall. Yet I found myself spending a good ten minutes just trying to read the words off the walls - my eyesight is horrible (I destroyed it with reading), and there is only so much squinting a person of my eyesight can do before giving up and ordering something randomly picked out.
I settled on a panini, with chicken, tomatoes, cheese, mayo and avocados, with my accompanying cuppa. My lunch buddy got herself a meatless panini, with a pot of tea. We also picked out two slices of cakes, a Lemon Semolina and Blueberry yoghurt slice.
My sandwich arrived hot and delicious, dripping cheese all over my plate as I bit into it. My lunch buddy got herself a mushroom/artichoke/brie and she enjoyed it immensely. We were both very impressed by the bread, in particular, deliciously soft and chewy, flavourful with cheese and butter.
On the other hand, both sandwiches cost well over $15, which to me, is too much to pay for a sandwich. To be honest, I don't see it as much of an issue as I've had worse and more expensive sandwiches elsewhere, but I can't help but think Bookcaffè would fare better with its customers if their sandwiches, which, admittedly are delicious, consisting of pretty basic ingredients, were priced cheaper.
That said, I enjoyed my sandwich - it was a welcome change to the dreary day.
As I mentioned, we also ordered ourselves some cake:
The cakes were quite lovely indeed, crumbly and delicately flavoured, with a texture that reminded me of cornbread but fluffier. Our waitress kindly warmed up the blueberry slice for us, but the Lemon Semolina slice won me over with its layers of sponge and light cream.
Divine cakes, light and perfect as after meal desserts which won't make you feel overtly full or regretful.
After our lovely meal, we explored the shop, as it was attached to a bookstore, which had tables of its own for quiet conversations over books and tea. Bookcaffè sells many, many things, from mugs to grocery baskets, to my favourite Glasshouse candles, even scarves and paper products. If you ever need to shop for a gift, I'm sure you will find something here.
My impression of Bookcaffè, is that perhaps it is trying to do too many things at one time - I was overwhelmed by how much was going on with regards to the items, two ice cream stands, shelves of baskets and mugs piled high, hand lotions, candles and a menu that insisted on catering to any appetite. An extensive menu at least requires it to not be read off a wall or blackboard.
However, this is not a dealbreaker - I had a lovely time at the cafe, our waitress was friendly and chatty, agreeing with us about it not being the first time a customer can't read off the board, and as far as I can tell, regular customers are on a first name basis with the waitresses and waiters. The staff working at the bookstore were efficient, swift to chase up a book for me, offering to place an order for me when they realised it was not in stock.
After I procured my book (The Shining by Stephen King), I took a moment to observe the customers of the establishment, ranging to some lovely elderly ladies, students running by for a cake and coffee, and even an entire class of teenage students with their teacher. It has a lovely atmosphere, and both me and my lunch buddy agreed that we would not mind returning for a spot of reading and writing over some cake and a cuppa.
So, if you are ever in the area, pop by for some bites and find yourself a new book. Or buy yourself a Glasshouse candle - those are always a winner as a shopping item.
Bookcaffe can be located at:
137 Claremont Crescent